Banned plastics: European Parliament’s list grows longer

The ENVI committee wants to ban polystyrene takeaway packaging. [Shutterstock]

MEPs in the environment committee are extending the ban on single-use plastics. They are also targeting takeaway packaging, bottles and cigarette butts. EURACTIV France’s media partner, the Journal de l’environnement reports.

While a European Commission proposal is already seeking to ban nine single-use plastic products in 2021 (plastic cotton buds, forks, knives, spoons, sticks, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons), MEPs at the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) extended the list in a vote on 10 October.

They are prohibiting very light plastic bags, products containing oxo-degradable plastics and expanded polystyrene fast food packaging.

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The European Commission is gearing up to reveal how it plans to tackle single-use plastics as part of the much vaunted Plastics Strategy. But an initial draft of the legislation has already received mix reviews.

Battle cry against takeaway packaging

The report by Belgian MEP Frédérique Ries (ALDE) also advocates reducing single-use packaging for burgers, sandwiches, fruits, vegetables, desserts and ice cream in an “ambitious and sustainable manner” by 2025.

Another addition is that plastic bottles will have to be separately collected and 90% recycled by 2025.

Fewer cigarette butts

As is the case in France, cigarette butts are subject to specific measures. The environment committee calls for a 50% reduction of filter waste containing plastic in 2025 and an 80% reduction in 2030. Moreover, the committee is requesting that the tobacco industry cover the costs of collecting, transporting and treating these cigarette butts.

This measure should push the manufacturers’ buttons. In France, representatives of Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and the association of providers of smoking tobacco (AFTF) considered any such collection to be “unrealistic”. Instead, they prefer that awareness-raising campaigns against anti-social behaviour are launched and pocket ashtrays are provided free of charge. The showdown has begun.

Single-use plastics in the Commission’s crosshairs

The European Commission is aiming to reveal its plan to curb single-use plastics in May, in what will be the first proposal to come out of its much-vaunted Plastics Strategy. But industry and civil society are still divided over what should be its fundamental goal.

Time to shift responsibility on plastics

Plastic pollution is increasingly in the spotlight but Europe could learn a thing or two from one of the cities leading the charge to curb unnecessary waste, writes the governing mayor of Oslo.

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